David Gray (snooker player)
9 February 1979 |
Lower Morden, Greater London
|Highest ranking||12 (2003/04)|
|Highest break||147 (2004 UK Championship, Players Tour Championship 2011/2012 – Event 10)|
Gray turned professional in 1996, after becoming the youngest winner of the English amateur title in 1995. He first demonstrated his potential by beating future World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 10–9 in the first round of the 2000 World Championship, a match in which O'Sullivan scored 5 centuries and also went on to win his first World Championship the following year. However, he was unable to repeat this success in the second round and lost 1–13 to Dominic Dale, scoring just 208 points, a record low for a best-of-25 match.
After winning the non-ranking 1998 Benson & Hedges Championship and following his World Championship performance in 2000, Gray was a consistent tournament quarter-finalist over the next eighteen months, but did not reach his first ranking final until the 2002 Scottish Open. In this tournament, Gray eliminated defending champion Peter Ebdon 6–3 in the semi-finals, having already taken out Stephen Hendry and John Higgins. Stephen Lee eventually defeated Gray in the final, 9–2. However, in the same tournament a year later, Gray again eliminated Higgins and Hendry en route to the final, and this time won the event, defeating newcomer Mark Selby 9–7.
Although Gray was unable to qualify for the 2003 World Championship, his success at the 2003 Scottish Open (to date, his only ranking tournament win) saw him break into the top 16 in the 2003/2004 world rankings, where he remained through 2005/2006. In the 2004 World Championship, he advanced to the quarter-finals, losing 13–9 to Graeme Dott. This performance helped him to no. 12 in the 2004/2005 world rankings (to date, his best-ever position).
On 28 November 2004 he reached his third – and to date, latest – ranking final in the UK Championship. He lost 10–1 to Stephen Maguire in the final. It was during this tournament that Gray scored his first maximum break – the 50th ever made in professional play – in the fifth frame of his last-32 match against Mark Selby (whom he had defeated in the 2003 Scottish Open final). His semi-final against Joe Perry was particularly memorable as he was 7–8 down and requiring Snookers. However a simple missed red by Perry enabled Gray to extract the required points and he managed to clinch the frame. Gray sealed victory by constructing a majestic 139 total clearance in the decider.
Gray bested Jimmy White (his long-time practice partner) at the 2006 World Championship, but in the second round Peter Ebdon beat Gray 13–2 with a session to spare, becoming one of the few players to have lost two best-of-25-frame matches in a World Championship so emphatically. Gray has yet to advance beyond the quarter-finals in a World Championship.
In the 2006 Grand Prix, he advanced from the group stage (in which the world's top 32 plus sixteen qualifiers are split into groups of six, who play each other round-robin with the two most successful players in each group progressing), before losing 2–5 to O'Sullivan in the last 16. He did not qualify for the 2007 World Championship, losing to 1991 winner John Parrott, and dropped out of the top 32 in the 2007/2008 rankings. A lack of success continued into the next season, with defeat to Liu Chuang in World Championship qualifying ensuring that he would be outside the top 40 of the rankings for the following year.
Gray fell off the circuit after the 2008–09 season but a World Snooker wildcard was awarded to him to allow him to remain on tour for the 2009–10 season.
After a disappointing 2009/2010 season he finished 77th for the 2010/2011 season and on 28 May 2011 Gray failed to qualify for the professional tour for the next season losing in the Q school qualifying stages.
After yet another poor performance in the Q school stages in May 2012 also saw him fail to qualify for the 2012/2013 professional tour.
The same was to follow in May 2013, as another poor performance in the Q School qualifying rounds led to disappointment, as he failed to qualify for the 2013/2014 tour.
Gray lives in the notable development of The Hamptons in Worcester Park, Surrey.
On 7 October 2009, whilst on holiday in Thailand, Gray was found unconscious and rushed to hospital after blacking out. The 30-year-old was rescued by paramedics after being found collapsed and wearing only his underpants in a grove in the Thai holiday resort of Pattaya. He blacked out after drinking with friends and woke to find himself on a trolley in the Banglamung Hospital. 110sport Group chairman Lee Doyle said he will offer every assistance to help Gray.
Ranking event finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runner-ups)